Tanzania: All 338 tourists confirmed safe and sound after five-star hotel fire in Zanzibar

Dar es Salaam — All 338 tourists staying at Ocean Paradise Resort and Spa and Tui Blue hotels in Zanzibar have been rescued after a fire broke out at the two five-star hotels on Kiwengwa beach on the north coast -is.

The hell that broke out in the early hours of Saturday severely destroying establishments, however, did not report any deaths, injuries or loss of personal items and from which all 338 tourists escaped unscathed. .

Zanzibar Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ms Lela Mohamed Mussa told The Citizen by telephone that she arrived at the scene shortly after receiving information about the incident.

According to her, she was informed that the hell of the night first broke out at the Ocean Paradise Resort before spreading to the nearby hotel – Tui Blue Hotel.

“A fire broke out in a workshop at Ocean Paradise, spread to an adjoining room which stored 4,000 liters of fuel, destroying the hotel’s administrative block and some other buildings,” he said. she said on the phone shortly after arriving in Unguja from the scene.

She added; “High winds during the fateful night spread hell to the nearby Tui Blue Hotel which suffered the worst fire damage.”

She said 13 small buildings each comprising eight accommodation rooms belonging to the Tui Blue Hotel, or 104 rooms, were destroyed.

Ms Mussa said the Tui Blue Hotel hosted 209 people, mostly foreigners, while the Ocean Paradise Resort had 129 people.

“Most of them have been moved to nearby hotels, except for a few who insisted on staying in the devastated hotels. Generally, they are all proceeding with their itinerary as planned,” she said. declared.

The minister further added that the incident was a blow to the government of the islands as the Tui Blue Hotel, which alone has 150 accommodation rooms, has contributed more than 2 billion shillings annually in terms of revenues and employed more than 300 people.

“Even though Ocean Paradise Resort did not provide further details, but the five-star hotel‘s contribution to Zanzibar’s economy could exceed 1 billion shillings for government coffers as the hotel, with 94 rooms of accommodation, also employs over 200 people,” she said. .

According to her, firefighters and rescuers arrived on the scene 19 minutes after the outbreak of the fire and managed to contain the fire at the Ocean Paradise Resort.

However, she said it was difficult for firefighters to move the water cannon vehicles to the Tui Blue Hotel due to poor infrastructure development in the area.

Therefore, she called on investors in the hospitality industry to prioritize infrastructure development at their sites to provide room for effective rescue operations in the event of an emergency.

She said it was too early for hotels to establish the amount of losses suffered, noting that insurance companies have, however, pledged to pay earlier to facilitate the immediate resumption of normal operations.

“The government will do everything in its power to help both hotels resume normal operations. Thankfully, Ocean Paradise has promised to resume operations after four months,” she said.

Unguja North Regional Police Commander Haji Abdalla Haji told Mwananchi newspaper that the cause of the fire has not yet been established.

“Most of the hotel guests were at the beach when the hell broke out, which probably lessened the impact,” he said.

He said law enforcement was following the case closely to establish the cause of the incident and the losses accrued by the hotels.

The Zanzibar Tourism Investors Association (Zati) Seif Miskry expressed sadness over the blaze but said he was confident hotels will bounce back.

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